African-Americans are twice as likely to remain unemployed as whites, are three times more likely to live in poverty, and are six times as likely to be incarcerated as whites.
In the era of the United States’ first African-American president, structural and practical inequality for African-Americans remains an unfortunate reality. While Obama’s election–history on some levels–did not mark a transition into a “post-racial” society, it might offer the opportunity for some progress in addressing racism.
In its annual State of Black America report, the Urban League offers a series of practical policy recommendations for the Obama administration that could help address longstanding racial disparities.
- The developmental of “a comprehensive and universal health insurance system”
- Increasing assistance to help people of color purchase their own homes
- Strengthen the Community Reinvestment Act to encourage banks to lend to people of color and end discrimination and predatory lending
- Create a HUD task force to investigate violations of fair-housing laws
- Increase federal programs aimed at creating jobs for urban areas
- Guarantee that all three- and four-year olds have access to full day early childhood education
- Increased federal spending to improve the education system
The report advocates that far from stopping with Obama’s victory, those campaigning for racial justice need to actively work to improve the material conditions for people of color and work to hold government officials at all levels accountable.
The report also echoed previous reports in asserting that the economic crisis has hit African-Americans the hardest.